Issue: I try to be friends with people, but it always seems like I have to make all of the effort. Do they really want to be my friend or is this a sign that they don't want to be my friend?
Insight: Friendship can be tricky. The best way to know what another person is thinking is to ask them. When we try to mind read you will find that many times you are not even close to knowing what they are thinking.
The next thing is you need to evaluate how important this friendship is to you and if it is worth it to you to make all of this extra effort. If it is an important friendship to you then let go of your concerns and pursue it. If this friendship is not all that deep and you don't feel it is that important, be free in letting it go.
Lastly, that other person may have a lot of friends that they are trying to maintain. The more friendships you have the less time you have for all of them. The other person may be busy as well and may have more time once things start to slow down a bit.
Bottom line: If this person means a lot to you, then I would recommend that you talk to them and let them know what you are feeling and let them know that they are important to you and don't give up on them. I have several friends that are extremely busy and if they know that they are important to you, they will make time for you.
Issue: I give gifts to my friends all of the time and they don't seem to appreciate it. Do I need new friends?
Insight: We all express and receive love in different ways. Giving gifts is one of them, however it could be that those friends who seem to have a problem with you giving gifts to them, may not give and receive love that way. Watch how they express their appreciation for you and it will give you a clue of what to do for them when you want to show them that you appreciate them.
Issue: There is a person in my life who is constantly putting down my spouse. How do I deal with this?
Insight: It would depend on whether it was an insult or a concern. If it was an insult, then you may have to evaluate the relationship you have with this person and see if it is worth keeping this person in your life.
If it was a comment out of concern for you; then the first thing I would recommend is, pray through what that person is saying and see what God has to say on the topic. God may or may not confirm this person's concerns. If there really is an issue in that area you could try bringing it up with your spouse. If your spouse does not respond favorably the best thing to do is pray for your spouse in this area.
Secondly, you may want to share with that person, that you understand this issue concerns them, however it undermines your relationship every time they talk negatively about your spouse. Ask them to take their concerns to God in prayer instead of constantly bringing it up to you. That person could also confront your spouse directly, if this is an issue that they are really concerned about.
Lastly, remember to forgive this person, I am sure they mean well and are just trying to look out for you.
Issue: A friend of mine made a commitment to me and then did not follow through with the commitment. How do I confront them and still maintain the friendship?
Insight: Friendship is not always easy, but the friendships worth keeping are the ones that can weather any storm.
When a friend makes a commitment, it is usually because they intend to keep it. If they have not kept it, there may be a good reason why they were not able to.
If you feel like it is a commitment that needs to be kept, then it may be a good idea to confront them. When you confront them, do so out of love not anger and you will find that the response will be much more positive. Also, try not to accuse, if you want answers as to why they did not follow through then ask questions.
Lastly, let them know that you want to maintain the friendship and what your expectations are in order for that to be accomplished.
Insight: It is really difficult when people move away. We make strong connections with people and then they are gone. One thing to think about is that just because someone has moved away does not mean they have stopped being your friend. With the technology that we have today, you should be able to keep in contact with your friends even if you do not get the chance to see them as often.
Another thing to consider, is if you are involved in events with other people, like soccer, dance, church, etc. then you could make some new friends in these groups, you might be surprised at how many great friendships you can make when you have something in common.
Also, if you find that people are not friendly towards you, then you need to consider why they are not. Could it be that you are scared to make new friends because they might leave too? If you are too scared to become friends with new people because other people have moved away, then you may never get to experience true friendship again. What an unfortunate circumstance that would be. I have had friends that have moved away and sometimes we lose touch and others are still close. Do not be scared, not everyone moves away.
Could you be thinking that your lack of friends is some fault in yourself? This is really negative thinking. People respond to the way you present yourself. If you do not think well of yourself others will pick up on that and tend to lean in that direction. If you have confidence and believe in yourself, you will find that others will have an easier time believing in you as well.
Could you be so focused on your situation, you may be missing opportunities to reach out to people around you? Sometimes in life we focus so much on our problems we miss the things that are happening around us each day. Watch for opportunities to help people. Kindness goes a long way in making new friends. How do you respond when people are nice to you? I know that when people are kind to me I want to get to know them better.
The best thing for you to remember is be yourself. People tend to draw away from people who seem phony. Be open to new friendships, you never know your new best friend may be just around the next corner.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.